Psalm 5:11-12

11. And let all rejoice who put their trust in thee, yea, let them rejoice for ever; and cover thou them, and let those that love thy name delight in thee.1 12. For thou, O Jehovah, shalt bless the righteous, thou shalt encompass them with thy loving kindness as with a shield.


11. And let all rejoice, etc. It makes little difference as to the sense, whether we read these words in the future tense, All shall rejoice, etc., or in the optative mood, Let all rejoice, etc.; for in both ways the meaning of the prophet will be the same; namely, that if God deliver him, the fruit of this deliverance will be common to all the godly; as if he had said Lord, if thou succourest me, the goodness which thou conferrest upon me will not rest on me alone, but will extend to all thy servants:for this will serve the more to confirm their faith, and make them praise thy name the more. In order, therefore, to induce God to grant him deliverance, he employs as an argument the end or effect which it would produce, inasmuch as it would stir up all the godly to exercise greater trust in God, and encourage them to give praise and thanks to him. This passage teaches us, that we are ungrateful to God if we do not take encouragement and comfort from whatever blessings he confers upon our neighbours, since by these he testifies that he will always be ready to bestow his goodness upon all the godly in common. Accordingly the reason of this joy is added, because the Lord will cover or protect them. As often as God bestows any blessings upon any of the faithful, the rest, as I have said before, ought to conclude that he will show himself beneficent towards them. Again, this passage teaches us, that true joy proceeds from no other source than from the protection of God. We may be exposed to a thousand deaths, but this one consideration ought abundantly to suffice us, that we are covered and defended by the hand of God. And this will be the case, if the vain shadows of this world do not so beguile us as to excite us to take shelter under them. We ought also particularly to notice the statement, that those who trust in the Lord love his name. The remembrance of God must be sweet to us, and fill our hearts with joy, or rather ravish us with love to him, after he has caused us to taste of his goodness; as, on the other hand, all unbelievers wish the name of God to be buried, and shun the remembrance of him with horror.

12. For thou, 0 Jehovah, wilt bless the righteous. The Psalmist here confirms the concluding sentence of the preceding verse, namely, that all the servants of God in common will take support to their faith from what he had experienced, for he would have us from one example to form our judgment of the immutability and perpetuity of God's grace towards all the godly. Again, by this he teaches us that there is no true and right joy but that which is derived from the sense of God's fatherly love. The word, to bless, in Hebrew, (when we speak of this as the act of men,) signifies to wish happiness and prosperity to any one, and to pray for him;2 but when it is spoken of as the act of God, it signifies the same thing as to prosper a man, or to enrich him abundantly with all good things; for since the favor of God is efficacious, his blessing of itself produces an abundance of every good thing. The name righteous is not restricted to any one man, but signifies in general all the servants of God. Those, however, who are called righteous in Scripture, are not so called on account of the merit of their works, but because they aspire after righteousness; for after God has received them into his favor, by not imputing their sins to them, he accepts their upright endeavors for perfect righteousness. What follows is of the same import as the preceding clause, Thou wilt crown them with thy free favor, or good will, as with a shield. The Psalmist's meaning is, that the faithful shall be completely defended on all sides, since he will, in no case, withhold from them his grace, which is to them an invincible fortress, and brings along with it certain safety. The word, to crown, which the Psalmist employs, often denotes in Hebrew, ornament or glory; but as there is added the similitude of a shield, I have no doubt but he uses it metaphorically for, to fortify or to compass about.3 The meaning, therefore, is, that however great and various may be the dangers which besiege the righteous, they shall, notwithstanding, escape, and be saved, because God is favorable to them.

1 In the older Latin editions, and in the French edition, the verbs for rejoice and delight are rendered, on the margin, in the future tense, thus:-- "And all who trust in thee shall rejoice; yea, they shall rejoice for ever; and cover thou them, and those that love thy name shall delight in thee."

2 "Signifie, souhaitter bien et prosperite a quelquun et prier pour luy." -- Fr.

3 Bishop Horsley thinks hnuk, katsinah, as with a shield, should be construed with nwur ratson, favor or good will, and translates the words thus:"Like a shield of good will, thou wilt stand guard around him." The reading of the Septuagint is the same: Wv oJplw eujdokiav, as with a shield of good will. The word hnu tsinah, means that kind of shield, from the middle of which there arose a large boss, surmounted by a dagger and which was highly useful both as a defensive and an offensive weapon in ancient warfare.